Over the past 15 years, 120 people have died in college campus fires. The college student population is the most vulnerable to the threat of fires.
In recent years, two deadly fires on or near the Purdue University campus has served as a reminder of the threat of fires to this population. Most students are living on their own for the first time, and things can get a little out of control. The biggest leading cause of fires on college campuses is smoking (29%) and alcohol is a factor in 75% of college campus fires.
"I don't think there's any other demographic that has such a wide range of fatalities where alcohol was a contributing factor in so many cases," said Purdue Fire Chief Kevin Ply.
Purdue University has seen some recent tragedies that have made these statistics hit closer to home. Scott Notary, 22, was killed in a 2013 fire at an off-campus housing complex. Cody Day, 22, died while visiting a Purdue University friend in off-campus housing in 2014.
The city has taken precautions with off-campus housing. Every two years a fire inspection must take place. However, it was noted, that in the two fires above, the smoke alarms were not working.
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